Posts Tagged ‘Word of God’

The Fishbowl ‘La Cosa Nostra’ World That People, Families, Organizations And The Whole World Live In. And How To Escape It.

September 21, 2017

La Cosa Nostra.  I say those words and you immediately think “mafia.”  Crime families.  Murders, extortion, drugs, violence and death and pain.

But if you came expecting an article on the mafia, click away to another link on your list.  Although this article will talk about the undercurrent that reveals exactly what “La Cosa Nostra” means and how it works and how we’re ALL victims of the mentality to varying degrees.

As I understand it, la costra nostra means “this thing of ours,” “our thing.”  Our way of dealing with things.

I recently had the term come to my mind as I was considering a friend who I am also mentoring and a difficult family situation this friend is now in.  The friend is in the right, but the whole family is basically saying being in the right is quite literally irrelevant and that my friend is not adequately participating in the “La Cosa Nostra” mindset which is how this family has been dealing with its issues for decades.  The problem is that this La Cosa Nostra mindset is dysfunctional, codependent, passive-aggressive.  Really very much like the mafia families which coined the term in the first place, except this family doesn’t leave a trail of dead bodies the way the mafia families do.  But this family has certainly left its own trail of emotional and psychological wreckage.

And another similarity is revealed in a line expressed by Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, in the film The Godfather: Part III.  Remember it?

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

That’s how my friend has been feeling.  Because what is going on is cyclical, a vicious spiral that keeps happening over and over again because no one changes, no one is allowed to change, and as broken and dysfunctional and codependent and passive-aggressive as the system is, it’s all this family has and all its ever had and so they all cling to it and resist anyone who tries to do anything different.

Insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing the same way while expecting a different result.

That’s what is going on in this family.  It’s like a disease that they have all inherited and they keep passing it on to one another to keep the disease always “in the family.”

Part of it is “living the lie.”  Because it’s always easier to pretend the lie isn’t really such a big deal when it is harder to expose it and deal with it.

For the record, I’m not talking about sexual molestation here in the case of this family.  But obviously that is right in the powerhouse of the La Cosa Nostra “this thing of ours” lie that other families in other fishbowls deal with.  I’m not revealing anything specific about the family I’m describing for what I think are obvious reasons: I have confidentiality to respect and I do respect it.

But I can tell you that when I described what I had discerned, my friend became very exited, because it was as if a lightbulb was suddenly turned on.  My friend had always understood that something was wrong, something wasn’t right and because of that something my friend was constantly “in trouble” in the family for deviating outside the lines of La Cosa Nostra.

Just like in the real mafia, keep it in the family, don’t get out of line and everything will be okay.  But try to escape it, try to change it, and watch the family machine grind into gear against you.  Oh, and don’t you DARE bring in any outsiders who will shine any sunlight on “La Cosa Nostra.”  That is the unpardonable sin.

It’s not just the mafia.  A lot of organizations are like that.  All religious cults are like that.  Way too many families are every bit as deep into “this thing of ours” as the mafia families.  They have their own thing, but the way they hold on to it, the way they are all committed to it, the dysfunctions, the codependence, the passive-aggressive behaviors, are identical.

And of course, these people who have “La Cosa Nostra” in their family relationships don’t leave it when they leave momma’s house.  They take it with them everywhere they go.  It’s how they live their lives and just don’t see it because they never question it because it’s the way they have always dealt with things and the way their family has always dealt with things and you don’t dare question that, do you?

So there are actually several fires going on in this family right now because it’s just so much easier to live in the lie and pretend the lie doesn’t matter or that it’s not my lie so I’ll keep my mouth shut and participate in the lie that way, or I’ll just put that lie in a compartment separate from all the other lies that I’ve also put into similar little compartments so that there is never any pattern that would reveal to me that I’ve got to deal with this garbage.  But one in particular really blew up because it has such serious undercurrents and it simply can’t be allowed to continue, and my friend is resolved to DEAL with it out front once for all.

A family member had sent ME a text initially supporting my friend.  This family member actually personally witnessed the triggering event and knows that my friend was entirely in the RIGHT.  And the family member wrote in the text:

“She’s my hero and I will stand with her and for her in anything.”

Well, at least until the La Cosa Nostra machine got to her.  Her tune completely changed within two days.

Then suddenly my friend “the hero,” who this family member had pledged to “stand with and for in anything,” is saying that my friend “the hero” is “prideful” and “immature” and “childish.”  Why?  Because my friend won’t keep playing the La Cosa Nostra game and won’t play out the same dysfunctional co-dependent baloney that she has always played before.

You see, the other family members have always played the passive-aggressive thing, getting angry and basically butthurt and then refusing to talk to my friend for weeks and even months at a time.  But my friend is the one who has always reached out and forgiven in a dynamic that has been the only glue holding the whole La Cosa Nostra Ponzi scheme together because SOMEBODY has to be an adult or at least go through the motions of pretending to be one.

So everybody else can act butthurt and be passive-aggressive, but if my friend doesn’t reach out and try to heal the wounds that La Cosa Nostra guarantees will always continue to fester, the family starts to fall apart.  And that’s my friend’s fault.  It’s my friend’s role in La Cosa Nostra.  Don’t try to get out of it no matter how much it is hurting you or how much pain you are in.  The rest of us need you to do this because damned if WE’RE going to do it.  For instance, damned if WE’RE going to take it upon OURSELVES to arrange for the family gatherings we want to keep having, to cook for those gatherings, to host them and largely pay for them.  YOU’VE got to do that.  And it’s “prideful” and “immature” and “childish” if you expect any of us to do it.  It’s “prideful” and “immature” and “childish” for you to quit doing what we have never done and won’t do.

It’s actually quite remarkable to see a family that is obviously completely wrong in its thinking, but they all think that way so what is wrong is obviously right by process of dysfunctional-democracy.  The rest of us voted, and we voted to maintain the definition of insanity as our way of doing things.

And is there any loyalty to the truth?  Is there any loyalty to the hero?  Nope.  Not when it conflicts with La Cosa Nostra there isn’t.

I recall a different situation in a different family that is partially going on in this family: a wife who had some serious issues was talking and talking and talking about the family’s problems, blaming much of it on the husband, basically depicting him as an angry, hard-headed, intolerant man who wasn’t capable of being reasonable.  The wife was telling the husband’s family about their son and brother frequently.  And everybody was buying her story.  Why?  Because the husband was the kind of man who kept these kinds of problems to himself rather than broadcasting his garbage on Facebook and the like.  Well, ultimately something happened that began to reveal that it was the WIFE who had issues, an addiction to drama among others, as well as a long history of “La Cosa Nostra” in her own family that she was now trying to imprint onto her husband’s family.  And at least the husband’s family finally began to understand that their son, their brother wasn’t the monster that a disturbed wife was trying to spin an image of in order to gain sympathy and be the victim when SHE was in actuality the unreasonable one all along.

So my friend is the same way as this husband was: let’s not ignore the teaching of Jesus that when you have a problem with someone, YOU GO FIRST TO THAT PERSON AND TRY TO RESOLVE IT.  No, rather, let’s NEVER go to that person.  Let’s INSTEAD go to EVERY OTHER PERSON in the family and try to form a coalition of “La Cosa Nostra” against that person and win the argument that way.  Because dysfunctional-democracy is not only tantamount to truth, it is more important than truth.  And in fact the truth doesn’t matter; they only pay lip service to it.  I repeat the refrain my friend keeps hearing from the family: “it doesn’t matter what happened.”

It doesn’t matter what happened, meaning, “pretend it didn’t happen.”  “Live in the lie” like the rest of us are doing.  And if you don’t do that, well, we’re all going to side against you because you are being “prideful” and “immature” and “childish.”  According to the family member who had just said that my friend is “her hero” and that she would stand with her and for her in anything.

You’ve heard that phrase, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”  Yeah.

It’s going to take a whole lot of courage to change this dynamic, because only one person can now see that this is a fishbowl of dysfunction.

What’s funny, in a non-funny, ironic sort of way, is the sister of the family member who called my friend “my hero” before labelling her as “prideful and immature” and said she would stand with her and for her in anything before standing against her, works at a nationally-recognized company (their ads appear regularly on television) that has an environment that is absolutely RIDDLED with this same sort of pathological dysfunction.  This other family member works in the corporate office where the owner, the top human resources officer, and other similar people are based.  And the situation is a constant drama from this family member’s description.  The pay is quite good, but the culture is so toxic that it frequently becomes unbearable.  I’ve talked on the phone with this family member about this deplorable work environment quite a few times when it gets to be too much and some counseling and encouragement is required.

Well, guess what?  This family member wants that same sort of mentality that is intolerable at work to characterize this family!!!  Hey, let’s not actually deal with our problems because that would be sane; let’s instead keep doing the same dysfunctional things over and over again but this time maybe we’ll live happily ever after.  Let’s play our own version of Game of Thrones and live the lie and use the dysfunctional, codependent, passive-aggressive dynamic because it’s the only system we’ve got and because no one is ever allowed to change it the only one we’re ever going to have.

What was done to my friend to trigger this most recent and most serious crisis, was clearly not only biblically immoral, but was dangerous to herself and to her children.  But she is now being expected by the rest of the family to climb out of the smoking ruins of the car wreck, limp out and say “What car wreck?”

The only requirement for being part of La Cosa Nostra is to sit stride a horse and say, “What horse?”  And don’t you even DARE acknowledge there’s a horse under you.  Especially if that horse is sick and lame and miserable.

Most of the men that most of the women in this La Cosa Nostra family have become involved with have been right out of Hollywood casting for having every serious issue a crappy man can have.  And that’s okay, because it gives the family a different crisis to gather over and talk about.  Pathological liar?  check.  Substance abuser?  check.  Serious anger issues?  check.  Serial adulterer?  check-check-check-check-and-check.  They keep finding the same man because they have been indoctrinated to think the same way.  And that way is broken and leads to brokenness.  They don’t want this brokenness: but they have been conditioned to consciously accept it and subconsciously to seek it out.

You find out that grandmother actually KNEW her daughter’s husband was not only having an affair, but was literally living a bigamous relationship with that woman and had even fathered children with her and was living with her part of the time, but she didn’t tell her own daughter and felt “noble” for not doing so because she was sparing her daughter’s “feelings.”  Mind you, she probably told one or two other family members, who told one or two other family members, until everybody knew about it but the humiliated daughter whose life was being ruined but she didn’t get to know because La Cosa Nostra believes it’s better to live the lie.  The daughter wanted so badly to get away from the terribly dysfunctional dynamic of her family that she got married to that man who would betray her at the too-young age of 17.  And so married a man who claimed to love her but acted out every form of hate a man can have for a woman.  And of course, once the cat was finally out of the bag, the same grandmother wanted her daughter to stay with the adulterous turd, stay married, because let me say it again: “it doesn’t matter what happened.”

Now my friend has her own children.  And they are swimming in the same family La Cosa Nostra fishbowl singing viva la vida, live the life.  But living the lie of La Cosa Nostra, our (dysfunctional) family thing.

Do you know what the secret is to winning an argument/debate in this family?  It’s really quite simple: refuse to listen.  Just say, “I’m not going to listen to that.”  And walk out.  Respond, “I’m not going to read that” if someone tries to present their side of the story in written form.  Don’t bother me with facts.  It’s not part of La Cosa Nostra, this thing of ours.

How do you create this mindset?  It’s like baking: all you need is a few key ingredients and you can cook up dang near anything.  First you need an instigator, the person who triggers the crisis.  Next you need a drama queen (who may or may not be the same person as the instigator) who as they say in Spanish will “heat up the head” of one or more choice family members they know they can count on to get that rise.  And then all you have to do is fill the rest of the dish with people who don’t care about both sides of the story, who don’t care about the truth, but who only care about putting out the fire that has been started in the family or the group.  With aforementioned attitude always working to the favor and the benefit of the instigators, the drama queens and the hot-headed members.  Because all that seems to matter to this group is mollifying and placating these people to put the fire out.  Until they do it again, and then again and again, and then again and again and again.  Same crazy story, same crazy solution, same crazy results every single time, guaranteed.  You might know this as the squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease theory, which always favors the squeakiest wheels while the wheels that aren’t causing any problems get ignored.

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him.  — Acts 7:57

Stephen told the mob nothing but the truth.  But they didn’t want to listen to the truth, and so they killed him.  They didn’t want the truth.  The lie sounded so much better to them.

In the same way the actual La Cosa Nostra, the actual mafia crime families, don’t kill people for lying; they kill people for reporting and testifying to the truth.  The lie is fine; it’s the truth that they despise.

The truth is never popular when people are dysfunctional and codependent.  That is something you can count on every single time.

And so every single dysfunctional family has an endless stream of justifications to refuse to listen to the truth, to ignore the truth, to handle their ongoing, constant crises the same way their dysfunctional La Cosa Nostra fishbowl has always handled the constant dram every single time before.

You know you’re in a dysfunctional environment when you are distrusted and punished for exposing and declaring the truth and rewarded for either being an instigator, a drama queen, a reactionary, or somebody who just shrugs his or her shoulders and pretends what happened never happened.

I suppose a particularly hilarious current example is Nancy Pelosi.  She created the mentality of the very mob that turned on her:

In this case Nancy Pelosi is the instigator who got “instifated.”  The mainstream mefia as always are the drama queens who heat up people’s heads with hysterical and often untrue biased, one-sided depictions of what haapened.  And then there’s the increasingly apathetic public that just hopes someone will put the fire out.  Only there’s ALWAYS a fire now, isn’t there?

This is the way of the world now, my friends.  Our universities – you know, the places that most self-congratulate themselves for their “tolerance” – have created an incredibly toxic, dysfunctional culture that won’t even listen to one of their OWN now because you can’t listen while you’re mindlessly shouting your garbage, can you?

So my friend is in a vice, now feeling squeezed from all directions.  Even from the direction of someone who had just got through saying, “She’s my hero and I’ll stand with her and for her in anything.”  But then immediately afterward refused to listen to her side of the story, saying, “I’m not going to listen to that.  I’m not going to read that” when she tried to explain.  And called her “prideful” and “immature” when SHE is the one who knows too damn much to bother to listen to someone who is older and wiser and whom she called her “hero”; SHE is the one who is being immature and childish.

Does she even know how much she’s betrayed her “hero”???  Amazingly, no, she doesn’t.  Why not?  How in the freaking world could she think she’s helping rather than hurtfully betraying???

Because it’s all part of La Cosa Nostra.  She’s been conditioned.  Let’s not change anything because it’s how we’ve always done it before.  Get back with the program.  Here’s the family script and here’s how you’re supposed to act now.  And since we’ve always done it this way, this must be the right way.  No matter how wrong it obviously is to anyone who is outside the dynamic observing it from a biblical perspective in terms of what God said should be the way we righteously live and righteously live with one another.

So why am I writing about this family?  I’m not writing to shame them or expose them.  But I just see this as such an example.

It’s just such an example of the way of the world, that’s why.  It’s the way of the world, the culture that we swim in.  You play the game.  Don’t you dare ever try to change the game or change the rules of the game no matter how crazy the game is.

The people in this family are Christians.  But they have been so conditioned to think a certain, dysfunctional way that they have “Christianized” their dysfunction that the way they deal with feelings and with events is nowhere found in the Word of God, but only found in their family fishbowl.

Paul writes in Colossians 2:8, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”  The problem is that we are so steeped (like tea bags in hot water) in these empty philosophies and this high-sounding nonsense that what is entirely unreasonable if you could only get some PERSPECTIVE actually seems like it’s working to you.

Another passage I’m fond of is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which says, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God.  We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

“The strongholds of human reasoning” is a FISHBOWL that no Christian has to live in any more.  But the only way OUT is to go UP and start thinking the way Christ teaches us to think in His Word that we diligently apply to our lives through prayerfully reading in submission to the Holy Spirit.  You are NEVER going to EVER understand your problems, your family’s problem’s your work problems, your world’s problems, until you start swimming UP and start swimming AWAY from the La Cosa Nostra fishbowl that you’ve spent your whole life swimming in.

Fish is a good analogy, considering the earliest Christian symbol was a fish.  The symbol was the result of Jesus telling His disciples He would make them fishers of men.  And the letters in the fish symbol were IXThUS and represented Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.  Jesus told us that we could know the truth, and the truth would set us free.

So imagine a fishbowl, with the fish swimming around in it.  And all the fish have to swim in the same direction, because darn it it would get confusing if some of the fish started swimming the other way, wouldn’t it?  The Bible makes it crystal clear that the fishbowl of the world is on the devil’s counter; for satan is the god of this world and he has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they cannot see the light or the truth: (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  See also:

  • The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.  As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”  — 1 Corinthians 1:18-19
  • “For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes–so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’  “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”  — Matthew 13:15-16
  • Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” — Matthew 15:13-14
  • But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.  — 1 Corinthians 2:14
  • He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.  So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.  Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.  — 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
  • Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.  Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.  They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.  — Romans 1:28-32
  • For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.  –  Romans 8:7-8
  • But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said.  They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.  These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.  — Jude 1:17-19
  • Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.  — 2 Peter 3:3

But what if that fishbowl wasn’t on the counter?  What if that fishbowl was actually placed in the OCEAN?  And all the fish had to do is to start swimming UP until they were OUT of that bowl and free to swim the way God always intended fish to be able to swim???

  • Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  — John 8:12
  • And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  — John 8:32
  • So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  — John 8:36
  • He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.  No, I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you.  Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  — John 14:17-20
  • And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.   — Romans 8:2
  • But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  — 2 Corinthians 3:16
  • Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.  For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.  — 1 Corinthians 2:15-16
  •  For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.  — 1 Peter 1:23

That is the actual reality.  We don’t have to swim in this stupid, ridiculous fishbowl we call “the way of the world” and that I’ve been calling “La Cosa Nostra.”  There is a better way.  There is a way that God has revealed.  All we have to do is start swimming UP rather than sideways.

But swimming up is up to US.  For the scriptures say, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” (Galatians 5:1).  When you become a Christian, you are changed, converted, regenerated.  But you are very much still able to sin because you still have your old nature in addition to the new nature that your regeneration in Christ created.  Before, you only had a nature that only had the capacity to sin; now, you have a new nature within you that has the capacity to no longer be a slave of sin (Romans 6:6), but to become a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18).  In Christ you now have the power that you didn’t have before Christ transformed you into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) – you have the power to swim UP, to respond to the upward call of God (Philippians 3:14).

There are a lot of Christians who are like my friend, who are frustrated and stymied by family members who may themselves even be Christians, but who still have one foot firmly planted in the world and who keep living out lives in bondage to what they don’t have to be bound to (Romans 6:6; Romans 7:6).  They have still not been adequately taught to put off their former way of life, their old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22).  We find that one major difference between unbelievers and Christians is that Christians are able not to sin, whereas unbelievers are trapped in bondage to sin and will swim around and around in the devil’s fishbowl throughout their lives as a result.

It begins by a love for the truth, and expressing the truth in love.

There are surely many moments that Christians should simply overlook the little faults that their loved ones possess; but there is also a time that we ought to be able to discern when we have the Holy Spirit to take a stand and stand for the truth.  Wilting to a dysfunctional family dynamic and supporting or enabling another member’s major malfunction is neither noble nor righteous; it is codependence.  And codependence is the way of the world, not the way of Christ.

I might add to this later, but I’ve got a meeting and I’ve got to go and I just had it in my heart to write something down.

 

 

Help, Did I Just Lose My Eternal Security Again???

May 4, 2015

Many Christians aren’t sure whether a saved person can be lost again or whether once saved they are eternally saved.  If a believer is unsettled on this crucial truth, doubts/fears/insecurity are bound to thrive. In place of truth, the devil continually presents wrong teachings, doubts and false reasonings. In the Garden of Eden he pulled those strings suggesting, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1).  And the distortion of the clear Word of God has been with us ever since.  The Holy Spirit calls for simple faith in the Word of God. Joy comes by accepting what God has told us plainly in His Word, rather than by allowing our confidence to be confused/stolen by a verse that is difficult to understand.  The first principle of interpreting Scripture is this: If there are passages that might seem to suggest Christian might lose their salvation, there are many others which with crystal clarity clearly state that we have genuine eternal security in Christ.  A second principle which follows is the always seek to read the Word of God from God’s perspective rather than bringing the fallen wisdom and flawed philosophies and reasonings of sinful man.  So when it comes to salvation, people who are reading the Bible from man’s point of view are coming to God’s Word with the view that salvation is up to us – when the Bible says salvation is up to God.  The Bible says that God predestined us, foreknew us, called us, chose us, elected us, appointed us.  Don’t dismiss the sovereign role of God in salvation.

The question is do we hold on to our salvation?  Or is it eternally held?  If our salvation depends on your “holding on,” then we should MORE than doubt our eternal security.  Because our salvation is up to us.  Rather, God’s Word says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  It asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).  We are told that “Salvation comes from the LORD” (Jonah 2:9) rather than from us or anything we can do.  The New Living Translation for that verse is even clearer on this point: “For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 argues, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  And we’re assured, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim 2:13).  If you want to hold on to your salvation and make it all about you and what you can do for yourself, even by making it all about YOUR faith rather than GOD’S work, well, you go ahead.  As for me, I’m counting upon God to hold it for me.

Many want to claim that if we can choose to be saved, well, surely we can choose to be UNsaved.  But without bothering to venture into the debate between Armenians and Calvinists (I am actually a Molinist who upholds both human free will AND God’s absolute sovereignty), let me show how that is a false dilemma.  When a Christian freely confesses Jesus as Christ and Lord, that Christian freely makes Christ the Master of his/her life.  The last sentence in 1 Corinthians 6:19 reads, “You are not your own.”  And the first sentence of 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You were bought at a price.”  If you confessed Christ as Lord, you freely chose with your own free will to make yourself what the Bible calls a “bondslave” of Jesus Christ and of God (e.g. Eph 4:12; 1 Pet 2:16).  If you’ve made yourself God’s slave, you can’t decide you get to go free; because that decision is not UP to you, but to your Master.  And Jesus says He doesn’t let anyone out of His hand (John 10:28).  You used your free will to make yourself His, to give your soul to Him.  Which is to say you  ALREADY exercised your free will.  And it is not the kind of decision you can unmake/undecided any more than you can decide to commit suicide by jumping out of a high flying airplane without a parachute and then “undecided” to re-exercise your free will as you are hurtling toward the ground.  In that example, you exercised your free will in a one-time decision to choose death; if you confess Christ as Lord, you used your free will in a one-time decision to choose life.  And you can’t take that choice back.

If we can lose our salvation, there would have to be THREE classes of people: the saved, the unsaved, and the ones who used to be saved but lost their salvation.  There would be the (saved) sheep, the (unsaved) goats, and the sheep-goats.  And those who were elected/appointed/predestined/called to be SAVED by God (e.g. Acts 13:48; Rom 8:27-30; 9:11,16,23-24; Eph 1:4-6, etc.), were thus  subsequently RE-elected/RE-appointed/RE-destined/RE-called to be UNsaved by the God of salvation.  I don’t see that in God’s Word.  I don’t see God appointing someone to eternal life and then re-appointing that same individual to eternal death after He had appointed him/her to eternal life.  Colossians 1:13 says “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves”; it does NOT say that God does the opposite and transfers believers back into the dominion of darkness.  See John 5:24 (“whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life”); see 1 John 3:14 (“We know that we have passed from death to life”).  Show me ONE passage that clearly states that process EVER works the other direction.

Jesus provides a powerful assurance to His sheep: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).  First of all, just how can life be “eternal” if it can be changed to eternal death?   And second, if salvation comes from the LORD alone, and if no one is able to snatch us out of God’s hand, well, what’s the question again about losing your eternal salvation?

Those verses beg one question: how can you have “eternal life” and lose it?  Doesn’t “eternal life” by its very definition mean that you can never die and that you will live forever?  If I can have eternal life today and lose it tomorrow, I don’t have eternal life today and frankly can’t ever have it because “eternal life” becomes like a “square circle” and doesn’t even make any sense.  It is non sequitur to “lose your eternal life.”  If you have “eternal life” it can NEVER be lost or it wouldn’t be very “eternal.”

As sheep, our security is the responsibility of our Shepherd (1 Pet. 2:25) as “the Overseer/Guardian of our souls.”  The Bible repeatedly points out the fact that it is the NATURE of sheep to wander/stray (Isaiah 53:6).  And what does God DO when His sheep wander?  See Matt 18:12.  We “are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed” (1 Peter 1:5).

Are there passages that give us reason to believe that not everyone who says they’re Christians are actually Christians?  Yes.  Jesus taught the parable of the sower (Matt 13:3-8): there was seed that was sowed on the road, and the birds came and ate it up; there was seed that fell on rocky places and seemed to spring up, but having no true root, withered; there was seed sown among the thorns and again the lack of true roots choked out the shoots; and then there was the seed that was sown on good soil that sprang up with real roots and yielded a crop.  But what Jesus does NOT say is that the seed that is sown on good soil with real roots will perish!  Hebrews 6:4-7 is a favorite passage that people who teach “eternal INsecurity” rely upon.  But they are WRONG for TWO reasons: 1) the passage doesn’t merely suggest – on their own reading – that you can lose your salvation; because on that view it flat out states that “it is IMPOSSIBLE to renew them again to repentance” (vs 6).  So if you think you’ve lost your salvation, don’t bother trying to get it back again.  And 2) while there is suggestive language used “enlightened,” “tasted,” “partakers,” the word “saved” or “salvation” is NOT used of them and in fact is CONTRASTED to them in verse 9 (“But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation”).  I submit to you that this passage is describing an individual who has “tasted” but not “eaten” the Bread of Life.  They have been around it; they have been surrounded by it – but they simply never made that true decision for Jesus.  Franklin Graham was surrounded/immersed with Jesus; he saw all kind of miracles.  But he wasn’t saved until he made his own decision at age 22.  And many others so surrounded by faith never make that decision of faith for themselves.  And so they end up having “fallen away” the same way that the seed in Jesus’ parable lacking the true root ends up dying.

[For the record, many exegetes believe Hebrews 6 refers to Jews who had professed faith in Christ, but when persecution against Christians came, forsook Christ and returned to their Judaism and began offering animal sacrifices again – tantamount to profaning the blood of Christ (Heb 10:2-3)].

I think 1 John 2:19 sums it up best: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”  There are pseudo-Christians to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21-23).  The point here is that they were NEVER known; that is, they were never saved even if they appeared from the human perspective to be saved.  Jesus is most certainly NOT saying, “I used to know you, but you lost your salvation and now I don’t know you any more.”  He’s saying He NEVER knew them at all.  By contrast, Jesus says “I know My sheep” (John 10:27).  And Jesus says that His sheep will “never perish but have eternal life.” (John 10:28).  How can eternal life be eternal if it can be lost, particularly when Jesus said they will never perish?  If they will never perish, then they obviously can’t lose their salvation.  Also, Paul says that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).  Read the Bible from The Author’s Point of view; you can’t consider the divine perspective and doubt that salvation is eternal and secure.

In terms of eternal life truly being eternal and salvation truly being of the LORD, I love this passage which provides a powerful guarantee that God will keep them despite their tendency to sin/stray: “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:14-16).  And Christians have a pair of nail-scarred hands – with those nails being driven into His hands WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Rom 5:8) AND ENEMIES OF GOD (Rom 5:10) – that guarantee us that our salvation is secure as long as Jesus bears the nail-engraved scars on His hands (Luke 24:39; John 20:27; Rev 5:6).  We are saved as long as Christ is alive, because Heb 7:25 states: “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”

Are there passages that suggest to us that we if we are living just like the world, that we might still BE of the world?  Yes.  People want to say if you deny Christ, you can lose your salvation, for example.  But, for all of Peter’s denials of Jesus, Jesus didn’t say to Him, “You lost your salvation.”  Jesus restored Peter.  And as to my relationship, having been born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), I am a child of God (Rom 8:16), I have eternal life (John 3:16), I am “in Christ” and a member of His body (1 Cor. 12:13). I am no longer in Adam, but a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).  And so are YOU if you EVER truly knew Jesus.

Some of the passages that emphasize eternal security for believers:

  • John 6:39: “And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.”
  • John 6:40: “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
  • 2 Tim. 1:12: “…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
  • Rom 5:10: “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!”
  • Jer 21:23: …“I have loved you with an everlasting love…”
  • Rom 8:30: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
  • 2 Tim 1:9: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”
  • John 1:12-13: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
  • 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
  • John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
  • 2 Cor 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
  • Colossians 3:3: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

If you are what is commonly described as “a backslidden Christian,” there is a high price that you will pay in this life until you are truly right with God.  You will suffer hardships in this life that you may not have suffered and you will miss out on rewards in heaven that you could have received while you were backslidden.  But you will NOT pay the ultimate penalty of hell.  Because when you confessed Christ as your Savior and Lord, He took ALL of your sins upon Himself once for all and for all time.  Let me try to explain in my own story.

My testimony: I became a Christian at age 15 on September 25, 1979 at Forest Home, when I went with my high school youth group.  I’d grown up in church, but had never truly experienced God (He was an old man with a big white beard in a bathrobe who saw everything I did – and disapproved) or Jesus (He was a wimpy guy carrying around a wimpy sheep) as something I wanted in my life.  At Forest Home, I first encountered Jesus as someone powerful who I truly wanted to follow.  I prayed to open my heart to Christ that day.

I came home changed.  My two best friends ultimately became Christians because of my transformation.  One is a Wycliffe missionary and the other became a pastor.

I entered the military.  But I ended up like too many young men end up today, wounded and  injured.  And the experience broke me both in body and in faith.  I simply could not understand why God had allowed me to get hurt.  And when I cried out to God, He did not seem to come to my rescue.  I came out of the Army bitter and questioning.  What good is God?  Is He even real?  And I lived for a number of years like a pagan.

Because I truly had been saved, I knew deep down that I wasn’t living rightly.  The backslidden Christian is the most miserable creature on earth, because on the one hand he/she doesn’t have the power to live a joyful and triumphant life pleasing to God and on the other hand as one who has the Holy Spirit within he/she can’t take true pleasure in sin the way unbelievers can.  You can sin, but there is a nagging sense that you are doing wrong.  In my heart, I knew where I needed to be.  I claimed to doubt God, but whenever I was in a tight spot, I prayed.  More than once, I had the realization that God would not let me die like this.

That said, I wasn’t going to church and I sure wasn’t living as a Christian.

I knew already in my heart that if there was no God, then there was no morality.  As Dostoevsky put it, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” And that if Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler had the same end, morality is for fools and everyone should be as wicked and selfish as the slogan “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” entails.  But I knew deep-down that wasn’t true.  I knew right from wrong because the Holy Spirit lived in me.  And it was because the Holy Spirit lived inside me that the entire time I was rebelling against God, I was miserable.  I couldn’t enjoy the immorality that the world could wallow in.  Deep down I always knew that I was on the wrong path.  At the same time, I couldn’t enjoy my experience with God because I constantly knew that I was not pleasing Him.  I was stuck in the middle of the road in a deep rut.

It took years for me to reach the end of myself and finally come to the point where my resistance to God had softened such that I could miss the relationship that I had once truly had.  But I had to know for sure that my faith was in something/Someone REAL.  I began to search.

I first considered evolution, because if evolution was true there was no need for God and frankly no point IN God.  I read Richard Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker and was actually more convinced of the reality of God when I put it down than I’d been when I’d started reading it.  I was appalled by the foolish reasoning and by the trivial dismissals of arguments that deserved profound exploration.  I read another book called Darwin’s Enigma by Luther Sunderland and was amazed at how bad the arguments for evolution truly are even according to many leading evolutionists.  But it took my examination of the historicity of the Resurrection and the marvel of prophecy to make me realize: it really happened.  On January 30, 1997, I prayed a prayer of re-dedication.  And I had an experience of a Presence just barely within my peripheral vision.  The passage, “And you will hear a voice behind you…” immediately flooded into my mind, and I wept like a baby as I realized that I had turned my back on Jesus, but that He had NEVER turned His back on me.

Did I lose my salvation and find it again?  No.  Like Peter, I had been sifted like wheat.  And I had folded like a cheap suit.  But like Jesus said, I was in His hand, and He wasn’t going to let go of me.  No matter how lost I felt, Jesus knew exactly where I was every second of every day.  And He never gave up on me, never quit working in my mind and in my heart.  Because as God says in His Word, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5).  And He won’t.  That is a promise from God.

US Dollar, Housing, Oil And Food Markets Point To Dodo Bird Ending For America: The Beast Is Coming

May 2, 2011

This is your dollar.

This is your dollar on Obama:

APRIL 23, 2011
Dollar’s Decline Speeds Up, With Risks for U.S.
BY TOM LAURICELLA

The U.S. dollar’s downward slide is accelerating as low interest rates, inflation concerns and the massive federal budget deficit undermine the currency.

With no relief in sight for the dollar on any of those fronts, the downward pressure on the dollar is widely expected to continue.
The dollar fell nearly 1% against a broad basket of currencies this week, following a drop of similar size last week. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index closed at its lowest level since August 2008, before the financial crisis intensified.

“The dollar just hasn’t had anything positive going for it,” said Alessio de Longis, who oversees the Oppenheimer Currency Opportunities Fund.

The main driver for the dollar’s decline is low interest rates in the U.S. compared with higher and rising rates abroad. Lower rates mean a lower return on cash—and the pressure from that factor could intensify next week when the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee is expected to signal that U.S. short-term rates will likely remain near zero for many months to come. On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to give the central bank’s first-ever press conference following a policy-setting meeting.

But it is worry about the U.S. budget deficit that is intensifying the selloff. On Monday, investors were spooked by a warning from Standard & Poor’s that it might take away the U.S. government’s coveted AAA rating status amid concerns the Obama administration and Republicans in Congress might not be able to agree to significant reductions in the deficit.

In addition, Chinese government officials have stepped up rhetoric hinting they might diversify their $3 trillion of currency reserves away from U.S. dollars. Such a shift would chip away at what has been a substantial source of dollar-buying in recent years.

I dare say that the Wall Street Journal got it wrong this time.   While it certainly might be technically true that the immediate driver of the dollar’s decline is ” is low interest rates in the U.S. compared with higher and rising rates abroad,” that is only a symptom of the ultimate cause of the dollar’s decline.  The bigger picture can be summed up in two words: quantitative easing.  Obama’s Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air.  And with more dollars chasing the same amount (and actually fewer) finite goods and services, the value of each dollar devalues. 

A week is a long time in Obama’s God damn America.  A fool-in-chief can do a lot of damage in a week:

APRIL 29, 2011
Dollar Skids to New Three-Year Lows
By JAVIER DAVID

NEW YORK—Investors wasted no time in sending the dollar to new three-year lows after the Federal Reserve gave them little reason to support it.

Weak U.S. growth and unemployment data quickened the dollar’s fall. Initial employment claims jumped back above the 400,000 level in the latest week. Meanwhile, gross domestic product data showed that economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, led by surging food and energy costs that sent a key gauge of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, soaring to its highest level in nearly three years.

Late Thursday, the euro was at $1.4821 from $1.4794 late Wednesday. The dollar traded at ¥81.54 from ¥82.04, while the euro was at ¥120.85 from ¥121.37. The U.K. pound bought $1.6640 from $1.6636. The dollar fetched 0.8733 Swiss franc from 0.8738 franc, plunging to a new record low.

The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, was at 73.12 from 73.519, its lowest level since July 2008.

Has Obama made our economy better?  Really?  You’ve been watching and reading mainstream media propagandist lies, haven’t you?  Here’s the reality: our dollar situation is every bit as bad now as it was when the terrible economic implosion of 2008 hit us.  That giant sucking sound you hear all around you is the value and purchasing power of your dollar sinking into the abyss.

Here’s another major economic indicator going right down the toilet:

Home price gains since spring 2009 vanish
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index for 20 major U.S. cities in February comes close to its previous bottom reached in April 2009.
By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
 April 26, 2011, 5:06 p.m.

The home price gains made after the housing market bottomed in spring 2009 have vanished, with 10 cities posting fresh lows in February, according to a closely watched index that tracks home prices in America’s biggest metropolitan areas.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index for 20 major U.S. cities, released Tuesday, came within a hair of its previous bottom hit in April 2009. The renewed drop in home prices indicates the nation’s housing woes continue despite a recovery in the broader economy.

“There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, while trends in sales and construction are disappointing,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s.

[…]

Foreclosures remain a significant part of the market and probably will remain so for the foreseeable future as borrowers continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.

Patrick Newport, U.S. economist for consultancy IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note Tuesday that the decline in the index and drops in other home price measures — specifically a monthly index produced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has seen steady declines in recent months — indicate that the housing slump is once again widespread.

The federal agency’s index’s “recent decline indicates that the vicious cycle in which falling prices lead to more foreclosures which lead to even lower housing prices, continues to play a role in keeping housing on the mat,” Newport wrote.

The Case-Shiller index has fallen to nearly the same level it was in April 2009, the last time it bottomed, evaporating the gains made last year after a popular tax credit for buyers fueled sales nationally. Experts predict prices will continue to fall this year, pushing past their previous lows into a much-feared double dip.

The only thing propping up the economy under Obama’s morally and fiscally idiotic policies is QE2.  Banks and major businesses are not being allowed to fail (it’s all too big too fail in an increasingly fascist system in which the government dominates the banking and corporate spheres).  Right now, the system Obama has only made more broken is being kept afloat in cash being created out of thin air.  The last time quantitative easing ended, the DOW immediately lost 16% of its value in two weeks.  And QE2 is set to end in June.

This means QE3, and then of course QE4.  Because “QE” means “Quack Economics” far more than it should mean anything else.

The following video WAS a fictional account warning us of what could happen.  But it is about to become news before history confirms it:

And do I really have to say anything about gas prices?  Gas was $1.79 a gallon when Obama took office; it is now $3.91 and going up every single day.  That is an increase of more than 118%.  How’s that hope n’ change workin’  out for ya?

Should I mention corn?  Field corn has increased 300% (from $2 a bushel in 2009 to $6 a bushel now) under Obama’s dreadful godawful policies

Wheat prices have more than doubled.  These are basic staples used in everything. 

Food costs more than at any time since 1974.  And it’s going to get much, much worse.  Prices for food and meat are going to soar in the coming days.

Liberals say they care about the poor.  But they don’t give a damn about the poor.  All Democrats want is to “fundamentally transform” America into a socialistic system where they can maintain power forever.

The other thing to say about the above is that Gerald Celente predicted in 2008 that food riots and revolution would overtake America by 2012.  I pointed out in a recent article that what he said is exactly coming to pass both here and around the most flammable region on earth.

And all the unrest you’re seeing around you is simply the Cloward and Piven strategy for bringing about the downfall of the United States of America finally coming to pass exactly like the left wants, and exactly like people like me were talking about for the last two years.

Nobody’s really telling you about what’s happening or about what’s coming.  And that’s mostly because nobody wants to hear about it.

When Adolf Hitler seized power (he never took more than 37% of the vote, but that doesn’t stop a big government tyrant from seizing total power), he began to ruthlessly suppress dissent.  Today, the Democrat Party has pushed on attempt to impose one euphamistically-named “Fairness Doctrone” after another to shut down competing voices, even as Nancy Pelosi now demands a system in which “elections shouldn’t matter so much” in the aftermath of the one that drove her from power).

I think of one journalist named Stephen Laurent who was impriosoned for trying to tell the truth about Hitler.  He wrote:

“I am writing this from cell 24. Outside a new Germany is being created. Many millions are rejoicing. Hitler is promising everyone precisely what they want. I think when they wake to their sobering senses, they will find they have been led by the nose and duped by lies.”

And that is where America is heading.  Only there will be no America to rebuild America the way the United States of America rebuilt Germany in the aftermath of Germany reaping its whirlwind after sowing the wind.  Obama himself will have seen to that.

The funniest thing about this – if anything about America turning into a socialist banana republic is “funny” – is that it will be the left who so rabidly despise the Word of God (otherwise known as the Holy Bible) who will bring about it’s ultimate fulfillment.

The beast is coming.  He will be a one-world global leader who will take over in the catastrophic aftermath of false messiahs like Barack Hussein Obama.  He will be the personification of the United Nations and globalism and a world without borders and all the other total idiocy the left has been jabbering about for decades.  He will represent the sum total of everything the liberals have ever yearned for.

The secular humanist left has said that if they could just take over, they would create a humanist Utopia.  God is going to give them their chance in the Tribulation with the big government Utopia of the Antichrist.

And in just seven years he will have brought a literal hell on earth.

It will be the left – it will be the people who most hate and despise and mock the Bible – that brings about all of the end times prophecies of the very Bible they so ridicule.

Barack Obama is an example of the sneering tone of the left toward the Word of God:

Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.

But I have been reading my Bible, President Obama.  And I’m seeing more and more reasons to believe it and accept it as God’s Word about a time which is now at hand.

I see the dollar devaluing to nothing; I see the cost of food skyrocketing.  And I consider the words of the book of Revelation:

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17)

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